Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has told the Chronicle which three players he thought were ‘immense’ during their League Cup defeat to Leicester.
The Magpies were defeated on penalties at St James’ Park to exit the competition at the first hurdle once again.
James Maddison put the Foxes ahead in the 34th minute before Yoshinori Muto equalised with 53 minutes on the clock.
Newcastle were denied by the lottery of penalties but Bruce reserved special praise for his central defenders.
In the absence of Jamaal Lascelles, it was down to Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark to lead by example from the back.
Bruce described the trio as ‘immense’ and was mightily impressed as they coped with a strong Leicester side incredibly well.
He told the Chronicle: “I thought the back three were immense in the circumstances.
“Very, very pleased with a lot of the stuff, but disappointed we’ve gone out.”
TBR Verdict – Bruce with an early-season selection headache
Given how impressed Bruce was with his three central defenders during the Leicester contest, he could be left with some decisions to make this weekend.
Having missed the cup game with an injury, Lascelles should return for the Watford game and that will see at least one of them miss out.
The unfortunate party is likely to be Ciaran Clark but Fernandez could earn a reprieve especially if Bruce persists with five across the back.
Despite going out of the cup on penalties, Newcastle strictly speaking didn’t lose the game.
There were lots of positives for Bruce and it will now be interesting to see what team is selected when the Hornets tackle Newcastle this weekend.